Looks like Peter King has finally come around
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Quote:Don't ask Matt Ryan about the home cooking thing. He doesn't have an answer.
"If I knew,'' he told me after beating the Packers on Sunday at the Georgia Dome, "we'd bottle it and take it on the road with us, believe me.''
The significance of Ryan leading a last-minute comeback for the second time in three weeks -- and in beating their fourth straight playoff contender -- cannot be overstated. "It means we can play with the best teams in the league,'' Ryan said. It's more than that. Atlanta is 19-1 at home with Ryan starting at quarterback, and the Falcons now control the top seed in the NFC playoffs. Six teams are breathing down their neck at either 7-4 or 8-3, but the 9-2 Falcons are in pretty good shape. In the last five weeks, they do play three road games and two at home, but they also play the worst team in football, 1-10 Carolina, twice in the last five weeks. Atlanta likely could go 4-1 down the stretch and still win home-field through the playoffs; its most dangerous game, a rematch with New Orleans Dec. 26, is in the Georgia Dome.
"I just know we feel confident in the building, whatever that means,'' Ryan said. "We've been in tight situations all year, especially at home, and we just feel when we're in those situations, we've got enough confidence in the guys around us that we can win, because we've done it before.''
Against Green Bay, Ryan completed his first 14 passes in the second half -- he finished a marksmanlike 24 of 28 -- and drove the Falcons to the winning field goal after a stupid Green Bay facemask penalty on a kickoff after the Packers tied it. "I didn't even know that till you said it,'' Ryan said about the 14 straight. "When you look back on it, and think about it, obviously in a game this big, it's a pretty good thing.''
Atlanta now has a quarterback it can trust in very big moments. January moments? We'll see. But Matty Ice, in year three, has shown no signs of freezing in the big moments yet. Why should the playoffs be different?
Quote:The Fine Fifteen
Matt Ryan has thrown 10 touchdown passes, and just one interception, during the Falcons' current five-game winning streak.
1. Atlanta (9-2). The Falcons are 4-0 in the last 22 days against teams with a combined record of 27-17. Matt Ryan and his teammates deserve this lofty perch -- especially with him playing like a latter-day Peyton Manning.
2. New England (9-2). Still a bit worried about its defense holding down a top offense, but less so after seeing the magnificent Devin McCourty besting Calvin Johnson Thursday in Detroit.
3. New York Jets (9-2). Rex Ryan's right. Marquee game of the year a week from tonight in Foxboro. The Jets won the first meeting, 28-14, back on Sept. 19.
1. Tom Brady, QB, New England. Masterful in carving up the Lions Thursday, presumably before carving some fowl Thursday night in his Back Bay home.
2. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego. I cannot argue with you one scintilla if you put Rivers over Brady. Numerically, it's a push, I'd say. Rivers has a 659-yard edge in passing yards. Brady is plus-19 in TD-to-INT ratio, Rivers plus-14. Brady's passer rating is 0.9 points higher, 105.8-104.9. Rivers has a big edge in the important yards-per-attempt stat, 8.94 to 7.59. Wins? Brady's three up.
3. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta. Five straight wins, all with a rating of over 94.
4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay. Pushes his teammate, Clay Matthews, out of the competition -- for now. Rodgers made some spectacularly cool plays in tense moment Sunday at Atlanta.
5. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans. He's not higher for one reason: the 15 interceptions. That's just weird. But he has time to rally